First, there was this fab review from Publishers Weekly, the must-obey publication of the reading world; now Kirkus Reviews, the virtual bible of book reviews, has delivered unto James St. James’ Freak Show what can only be described as a RAVE – with a STAR:
On the first day of school, Billy Bloom arrives on the scene decked out in full Vivienne Westwood pirate regalia, complete with tights, pearls, a sword, gold teeth and a Cap’n Crunch hat. He’s an artist, a rebel, a metamorph and self-described gender-obscurist—the first and, to date, the most lovably entertaining and fully realized of his kind to grace the first-person protagonist role of a YA novel. To say that he’s out of his element at his new high school—in a Stepford-ish, swampy, podunk Florida town—would be an understatement, and he’s met with the to-be-expected slew of verbal torments from his classmates. Soon the homophobia escalates to violence, and, after recovering, he devises a plan to barge his way straight through the close-minded hearts of his community to Prom Queen notoriety. His platform? “Tease hair, not homos,” and “Gender is a choice, not a life sentence.” Only St. James, an artist not unlike Billy, could compose such an accessible, deliciously outrageous, machine-gun barrage of bitchy, button-pushing drag queen humor packed with snarky innuendos and tongue-in-cheek one-liners. The results? A groundbreaking, eye-opening, romantic, bittersweet story of one boy’s determination to seek acceptance for who he is and right the wrongs of his world, one dress at a time.